Nearly 20,000 foster care teens "age-out" of the foster care system each year. Once they reach 18, their state and foster families are no longer required to give them assistance. They are left to fend for themselves.
Unfortunately, many foster care teens don't have the support and life skills necessary to live on their own. Foster care studies have shown that in just four years after leaving foster care, 25 percent of "aged-out" youth have been homeless, 42 percent have become parents themselves, fewer than 20 percent are able to support themselves, and only 46 percent have graduated from high school.
Because they lack the support systems most young adults take for granted, aged-out foster care teens are at high risk for substance abuse, domestic violence and poverty.1
The mission of the Stay Off The Streets Fund is to support youth charities which provide structured programs for foster care teenagers transitioning into adulthood. When asked why he rallies behind this charitable youth fund,Kevin M. Weeks, author of a collection of urban crime fiction novels titled The Street Life Series, replied, “I’m committed, determined, and destined to help “at risk” youth stay off the streets.
The following non-profit charities are examples of the organizations which received grants from the Stay Off The Streets Fund:
New Journeys Transitional Home (Miami, Florida)
New Journeys Transitional Home (NJTH) was developed due to the overwhelming number of youth aging-out of foster care or who become homeless. NJTH opens their doors to homeless young women. Besides being homeless, these young women may also have unmanaged stressors that are the result of rape, suicide attempts, abandonment, prostitution, unsupported pregnancy and rejection due to sexual identity. The grant will be used for school books and supplies, groceries, clothes, shoes, hygiene products, laundry supplies, and cleaning supplies. NJTH's future goal is to open more homes for homeless young men as well as homeless young women with children.
Yele Haiti Foundation (New York)
The Yele Haiti Foundation was founded by Haitian
Goodwill Ambassador and Grammy-Award winning musician Wyclef Jean. The purpose of the grant is to aid a teenager displaced during the January 2010
earthquake. This particular quake was the strongest in Haiti since
1770. However, the will of the Haitian people remain strong. After the quake disaster, world
renowned philanthropist and entertainer Oprah Winfrey interviewed Wyclef Sean who said,
"You could hear [people] chanting and still singing the words of God . .
CHRIS Kids (Atlanta)
CHRIS Kids Atlanta aids youth initiatives such as the CHRIS Kids Graham Circle Project in East Atlanta, Georgia. The Graham Circle Project is transforming the Independent Living Program (ILP) into a permanent supportive housing community with 39 housing units for youth, ages 17 – 24, who grow up in the foster care system or who are homeless. This includes computer lab and training rooms, as well as becomes the new home of the CHRIS Counseling Center. The center provides professional mental health and substance abuse counseling to the community in addition to residents. CHRIS Kids was founded by the Junior League of Atlanta, as a Menninger Foundation Demonstration Project in 1981.
Works Cited 1Littlefield, Jamie. "The Challenge." Charity Guide. http://www.charityguide.org/volunteer/fewhours/age-out.htm